Photos – WSOP 2009 – PokerRoad Nation

Two sports worlds clashed on Wednesday as the National Hockey League infiltrated the World Series of Poker for a charity tournament, bringing some of their top players and the one and only Stanley Cup.

0On Wednesday, the Amazon Room took on a hockey theme, including a visit from the Stanley Cup.

1What does professional hockey have to do with professional poker? Not much, though the NHL’s annual awards ceremony will be held the next evening at the Palms Casino, right across the street from the Rio. But a more personal connection exists between WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack (left) and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (right) — they are half-brothers.

2ESPN teamed up with the NHL to create a one-day televised poker tournament called the NHL Charity Shootout. The ESPN final table arena was completely redecorated in a hockey theme, complete with felt that looks like the ice in a hockey rink.

3The NHL Charity Shootout was co-sponsored by PokerStars, and several Team PokerStars Pros (Vanessa Rousso, shown here, as well as Chris Moneymaker and Dennis Phillips) played alongside current and former NHL hockey players (such as Roberto Luongo, foreground right).

4NHL Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson plays during the first of three shootouts for a seat at the final table. Anderson won six Stanley Cup championships (five with the Edmonton Oilers, one with the New York Rangers). Anderson is wearing several of his championship rings at the table.

5Among the small touches — a hockey puck is used as the button on the ice-like felt.

6Sheldon Souray (left) and Chris Moneymaker play during the second of three shootouts for a seat at the final table. Souray is a defender for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, and holds the unofficial record for the hardest slap shot.

7Alexander Ovechkin plays in the third of three shootouts for a seat at the final table. Ovechkin is the only player in NHL to history to win the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP), the Art Ross Trophy, the Rocket Richard Trophy, and the Lester B. Pearson Award in the same season (2007-08). While this tournament was for charity and had a relaxed atmosphere, Ovechkin remained competitive and tried his best to win.

8Jeremy Roenick (standing, left) waits for the results of an all-in situation during the third shootout. Unlike most of the poker action in the Amazon Room this month, the mood is light and joking. The players, in seat order: Ed Olczyk (retired), Mark Napier (retired), Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Jeremy Roenick (San Jose Sharks), Murray (a PokerStars qualifier), and Mats Sundin (Vancouver Canucks).

9Scott Hartnell (right) receives congratulations from Luc Robitaille (left) after catching a two-outer on the river to bust Robitaille from the second shootout. Hartnell plays for the Philadelphia Flyers, while Robitaille is retired after 19 seasons in the NHL, most of them with the Los Angeles Kings.

10NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (left) receives a tour of the Amazon Room from his half-brother, WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack.

11Mats Sundin plays during the third shootout for a seat at the final table. Sundin spent most of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and currently plays for the Vancouver Canucks. Sundin has scored at least 70 points in every full-length season since 1990.

12The Stanley Cup was brought into the Amazon Room for the final table of the NHL Charity Shootout. Everyone from poker players to members of ESPN’s crew were eager to capture the moment on their cellphone cameras. Unlike most major sports trophies, there is only one Stanley Cup, and winning teams only get to keep it while they are the reigning champions.

13A few weeks ago, WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack (left) called the WSOP bracelet “the Stanley Cup of Poker.” To drive home the comparison, the Stanley Cup was on stage during the evening ceremony, where James Van Alstyne (Event #31, $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.), J.C. Tran (Event #30, $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha), and Leo Wolpert (Event #29, $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em) received the WSOP bracelets they won the previous night. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (center) finished the ceremony by saying “Shuffle up and deal” to kick off the post-dinner-break action.

14A close-up view of the Stanley Cup, which is engraved with the names of everyone on the championship team each year. The Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back titles in 1996-97 and 1997-98, and have made the playoffs every year for the past 18 years — the longest active streak in professional sports.

15After kicking off the evening’s WSOP tournaments, Jeffrey Pollack and Gary Bettman move into the ESPN final table arena to start the action at the final table. Once again, it’s NHL Commissioner Bettman who gives the word to “Shuffle up and deal.”

16The stands around the final table were modified to resemble a hockey arena, complete with plexiglass panels.

17Another look at the one-of-a-kind ice-hockey style poker felt. The only downside is the fact that the white cards don’t contrast very well against the light blue felt.

18Mats Sundin (center) jokes around with poker pro Vanessa Rousso (foreground, left) and Scott Hartnell (foreground, right) at the final table of the NHL Charity Shootout.

19Roberto Luongo (goaltender, Vancouver Canucks) plays heads up against Scott Hartnell (foreground) at the final table of the NHL Charity Shootout. The winner receives a trophy and $25,000 donated to their favorite charity.

20Scott Hartnell points to his friends and fans in the crowd after winning the NHL Charity Shootout.

21Heidi Androl (right) presents Scott Hartnell with a check for $25,000 made out to the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Androl is the video hostess for NHL.com, which makes her their equivalent to poker’s Lacey Jones or Amanda Leatherman. Androl once competed on Donald Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice,” a distinction she shares with poker pro Annie Duke.

22Scott Hartnell and his wife Lisa pose for a friend’s photo after his victory in the NHL Charity Shootout.

23With the day’s NHL-themed poker festivities complete, an NHL representative dons white gloves to return the Stanley Cup to an undisclosed location. Tony Spencer (center), Head of Security for the World Series of Poker, monitors the situation.